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Report Card: Grading out Virginia’s 19-14 loss at #11 Miami

Quarterbacks: A-

uva footballACC Network analyst Tim Hasselback actually said, out loud, in the fourth quarter, when UVA got the ball back after a Miami TD pushed the ‘Canes lead to 19-7, that the Cavaliers might want to go to Lindell Stone, because Stone is Virginia’s best option as a throwing quarterback.

How this guy isn’t in Tony Romo’s spot is beyond me.

Brennan Armstrong showed Saturday why he’s the QB1. After back-to-back weeks with Stone putting up Pro Football Focus grades of 44, we got an 87.1 game out of Armstrong – who was 16-of-30 passing for 181 yards and two TDs through the air, and added 91 yards on 15 tries on the ground.

Keytaon Thompson (PFF grade: 68.6) got five carries out of the wildcat, going for 24 yards, and Iraken Armstead (PFF grade: 60.2) put in four wildcat carries for 22 yards.

Sum total for the QBs: 181 yards passing, 137 yards rushing, 11 yards receiving (Thompson had two catches for 11 yards).

Run game: B+

Most of this is the QBs – who had 137 of the team’s 185 yards on the ground.

Wayne Taulapapa (PFF grade: 67.7) had a nice outing – 56 yards on 10 carries.

Wideouts/tight ends: C-

There were five drops on Armstrong’s 14 incompletions – one by tight end Tony Poljan (PFF grade: 53.9), two by Billy Kemp IV (PFF grade: 55.8) and two by Terrell Jana (PFF grade: 51.9).

Poljan (four catches on seven targets, 26 yards) made the Top Plays segment on SportsCenter this morning with his toe-tap TD catch in the first quarter.

But if Poljan and Grant Misch (PFF grade: 55.5) had been able to figure out who was supposed to be in the slot, Ra’Shaun Henry (PFF grade: 59.5) would have had a 24-yard TD catch in the second quarter, instead of it being called back because Misch, covered up by Poljan, who was split wide left, was assessed for being an ineligible receiver downfield.

That one resulted in seven points being taken off the board in a game that you ended up losing by five.

That C- grade might be generous.

Offensive line: B+

One sack, only five pressures allowed, on 40 dropbacks, and the run game gained 185 yards.

Individual numbers:

  • Joe Bissinger (PFF grade: 60.7): 49 snaps
  • Chris Glaser (PFF grade: 60.4): 71 snaps
  • Ryan Swoboda (PFF grade: 60.1): 48 snaps, one penalty, one hurry, one pressure
  • Dillon Reinkensmeyer (PFF grade: 58.5): 22 snaps
  • Ryan Nelson (PFF grade: 58.4): 65 snaps, one sack, one hit, one hurry, three pressures
  • Olusegun Oluwatimi (PFF grade: 55.5): 65 snaps, one penalty, one hurry, one pressure
  • Bobby Haskins (PFF grade: 44.2): 29 snaps, one hit, two hurries, three pressures
  • Gerrik Vollmer (PFF grade: 47.3): 6 snaps

Defensive front: A-

Virginia had six sacks, 25 total QB pressures (four hits, 15 hurries), and 11 tackles for loss.

Big games from the inside linebackers: Nick Jackson (PFF grade: 80.5), who had 16 tackles, one TFL, a sack, two hurries, and Zane Zandier (PFF grade: 85.0), who had 10 tackles, two TFLs, a sack, three hurries.

Secondary: C-

For all the pressure the front put on D’Eriq King, he was still able to put up a big night – 21-of-30 passing for 322 yards and a TD.

To be fair, the secondary was missing starting safeties Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson.

One of the fill-ins, D’Angelo Amos (PFF grade: 56.8), fared well. King was 0-of-3 going at Amos in 42 coverage snaps for the JMU grad transfer.

The other, Antonio Clary (PFF grade: 49.2), had an awful night in coverage: in 46 coverage snaps, King was 5-of-5 for 108 yards going at Clary.

Special teams: B

PFF gave the unit an overall grade of 83.8, a season-high in 2020.

I’m downgrading a bit because Brian Delaney (PFF grade: 56.3) missed a very makeable 37-yard field goal try in the second quarter.

Kickoff specialist Justin Duenkel (PFF grade: 65.2) had one touchback and two returns on his three kicks, with 25 yards spread over the two returns.

Punter Nash Griffin (PFF grade: 66.3) averaged 46.2 yards per punt, with a 42.2 yards-per net, with an average hangtime of 4.23 seconds.

Kick returner Tavares Kelly Jr. (PFF grade: 62.6) had 82 yards on three returns.

Kemp had a single punt return that went for 19 yards.

Story by Chris Graham